By Ariel Worthy
The Birmingham Times
Cedric Brown remembers serving to his mom match her outfits as a child. He additionally remembers portray on items of paper. Now, at age 25, Brown has mixed his two passions—fashion and artwork—and created the Cedric Brown Assortment (CBC), a line of neckties, bow ties, handkerchiefs, and scarves.
Brown, an Atlanta native, lately got here to Birmingham for a pop-up shop on the College of Alabama at Birmingham’s Fringe of Chaos, a challenge of the College of Public Well being that brings collectively academia, enterprise, and the neighborhood to discover actual and workable options to advanced issues.
David Hooks, Director of Innovation on the Fringe of Chaos, stated Brown was invited to the town to present perception on being a begin-up enterprise.
“Younger African-American entrepreneur beginning up his enterprise in Atlanta . . . we needed to get his really feel on what that was like,” Hooks stated.
Brown, a graduate of Savannah Faculty of Artwork and Design (SCAD), stated his slogan is ‘From night to avenue put on, CBC makes an elegant assertion.”
Whereas attending SCAD, he labored with excessive-finish fashion retailers and designers by internships and lessons. His fashion professors suggested him to incorporate his portray background into his attire designs. In his Senior Assortment, Brown produced hand-painted and hand-dyed designs that obtained glowing evaluations from his instructors and friends.
“I experimented with hand-portray scarves whereas at SCAD,” he stated. “I additionally interned in New York with Wes Gordon, a designer who does New York Fashion Week, and he gave me some beneficial recommendation: … ‘Begin with one merchandise after which increase into others.’”
Brown took Gordon’s recommendation and commenced with scarves. Why scarves?
“You possibly can simply put your art work on scarves, and folks will at all times give you the option to see it,” he stated.
Simply earlier than the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, China, Brown, then a highschool scholar, was chosen as one in all seven Boys and Ladies Membership members to have his designs featured in “Peace, Friendship, Goodwill by the Olympic Spirit,” a kids’s art work assortment.
“At 15 years previous, I traveled to Beijing, China. It was my first worldwide journey, aircraft journey, and worldwide artwork present. … I went on a two-week tour round China. This expertise was life-altering. It made me really feel just like the sky was the restrict and there was nothing I couldn't do,” he advised True City Tradition (TUC) journal.
In school, Brown secured a fashion design internship in Hong Kong.
“[People in that part of the world] actually understand how to costume,” he stated. “I used to be in … awe. That they had each excessive-finish model you possibly can consider. Taking a look at their garments for inspiration was superior.”
As a black man in China, Brown had a singular expertise.
“I used to be handled like a star,” he stated. “Individuals have been lining up to take footage with me. They have been touching my hair, taking movies of me. One girl even requested if I used to be from Harlem, however she was fascinated by the Harlem Renaissance interval. It was loopy.”
Brown’s art work has been featured on Atlanta billboards and magazines, corresponding to Jezebel and Sheen. In 2010, he was additionally chosen to create a chunk of art work for Worldwide Paint Buddies, a nonprofit group that shows kids’s art work all around the world. His piece, “Because the Twig Bends, so the Tree Inclines,” was accepted into the Nationwide Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, and he obtained a letter about his art work from then Consulate Normal Sheila Gwaltney.
A number of effectively-recognized celebrities have embraced Brown’s designs. Rapper Younger Thug, who is understood to be fashion-forward, has worn CBC scarves and handkerchiefs on a number of events, as have comic Joe Torry and Atlanta information anchor Deborah Tuff.
Brown stated he doesn’t have a target market: “I’ve seen center schoolers to 70-year-olds sporting my stuff. That’s an important factor, although.”
Brown’s assortment may be present in boutiques all through the state of Georgia, and he hopes to give you the option to transfer into attire, each women and men’s put on.
Being a younger black man along with his personal enterprise, particularly as a designer, could be a problem, he stated.
“With fashion manufacturing, you might have to ensure you have nice-high quality all the things. It has to come out the best approach. You have got to ensure you’re on pattern. You don’t need to waste your time or cash on one thing that received’t go effectively.”
“Being an artist is an enormous threat,” Brown stated. “You get so many no’s, have so many individuals who doubt, however you see the expansion. It’s nice seeing folks put on my stuff. Once I created this I had a imaginative and prescient, however after I see folks take my stuff and put their very own fashion and spin on it, that’s actually huge.”
To view Brown’s designs, go to cedricbrowncollections.com.